Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery

Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery

by Scott Kelly

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Overview

Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery by Scott Kelly

Scott Kelly, the pioneering NASA astronaut whose year aboard the International Space Station was celebrated around the world, reveals the magic, hardships, and challenges of the mission—the longest in history by an American astronaut. Kelly’s perseverance, warmth, and bravery represent the best of humanity in an environment beyond imagining and all that we can achieve when we reach for the impossible. This is the story of American spaceflight: its past daring and innovation, and the promise of a future when mankind will walk on Mars.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781524731595
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/17/2017
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 25,989
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

SCOTT JOSEPH KELLY is a former U.S. Navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and NASA astronaut. Kelly retired from the Navy at the rank of captain after twenty-five years of service. A veteran of four spaceflights, Kelly commanded the space shuttle Endeavour in 2007 and twice commanded the International Space Station. He has logged more than 520 days in space on four spaceflights and currently holds the records for total time in space and for single-mission endurance by a U.S. astronaut. Kelly spent 340 consecutive days in space, launching in March 2015 and returning home in March 2016. He currently resides in Houston, Texas.

Read an Excerpt

Prologue

I’m sitting at the head of my dining room table at home in Houston, finishing dinner with my family: my longtime girlfriend, Amiko; my daughters, Samantha and Charlotte; my twin brother, Mark; his wife, Gabby; his daughter, Claudia; our father, Richie; and Amiko’s son, Corbin. It’s a simple thing, sitting at a table and eating a meal with those you love, and many people do it every day without giving it much thought. For me, it’s something I’ve been dreaming of for almost a year. I contemplated what it would be like to eat this meal so many times, now that I’m finally here, it doesn’t seem entirely real. The faces of the people I love that I haven’t seen for so long, the chatter of many people talking together, the clink of silverware, the swish of wine in a glass—these are all unfamiliar. Even the sensation of gravity holding me in my chair feels strange, and every time I put a glass or fork down on the table there’s a part of my mind that is looking for a dot of Velcro or a strip of duct tape to hold it in place. I’ve been back on Earth for forty-eight hours.

I push back from the table and struggle to stand up, feeling like an old man getting out of a recliner.

“Stick a fork in me, I’m done,” I announce. Everyone laughs and encourages me to go and get some rest. I start the journey to my bedroom: about twenty steps from the chair to the bed. On the third step, the floor seems to lurch under me, and I stumble into a planter. Of course it wasn’t the floor—it was my vestibular system trying to readjust to Earth’s gravity. I’m getting used to walking again.

“That’s the first time I’ve seen you stumble,” Mark says. “You’re doing pretty good.” He knows from personal experience what it’s like to come back to gravity after having been in space. As I walk by Samantha, I put my hand on her shoulder and she smiles up at me.

I make it to my bedroom without incident and close the door behind me. Every part of my body hurts. All of my joints and all of my muscles are protesting the crushing pressure of gravity. I’m also nauseated, though I haven’t thrown up. I strip off my clothes and get into bed, relishing the feeling of sheets, the light pressure of the blanket over me, the fluff of the pillow under my head. All of these are things I missed dearly. I can hear the happy murmur of my family behind the door, voices I haven’t heard without the distortion of phones bouncing signals off satellites for a year. I drift off to sleep to the comforting sound of their talking and laughing.

A crack of light wakes me: Is it morning? No, it’s just Amiko coming to bed. I’ve only been asleep for a couple of hours. But I feel delirious. It’s a struggle to come to consciousness enough to move, to tell her how awful I feel. I’m seriously nauseated now, feverish, and my pain has gotten worse. This isn’t like how I felt after my last mission. This is much, much worse.

“Amiko,” I finally manage to say.


She is alarmed by the sound of my voice.


“What is it?” Her hand is on my arm, then on my forehead. Her skin feels chilled, but it’s just that I’m so hot.


“I don’t feel good,” I say.


I’ve been to space four times now, and she has gone through the whole process with me as my main support once before, when I spent 159 days on the space station in 2010–11. I had a reaction to coming back from space that time, but it was nothing like this.

I struggle to get up. Find the edge of the bed. Feet down. Sit up. Stand up. At every stage I feel like I’m fighting through quicksand. When I’m finally vertical, the pain in my legs is awful, and on top of that pain I feel something even more alarming: all the blood in my body is rushing to my legs, like the sensation of the blood rushing to your head when you do a headstand, but in reverse. I can feel the tissue in my legs swelling. I shuffle my way to the bathroom, moving my weight from one foot to the other with deliberate effort. Left. Right. Left. Right.

I make it to the bathroom, flip on the light, and look down at my legs. They are swollen and alien stumps, not legs at all.

“Oh, shit,” I say. “Amiko, come look at this.”

She kneels down and squeezes one ankle, and it squishes like a water balloon. She looks up at me with worried eyes. “I can’t even feel your anklebones,” she says.

“My skin is burning, too,” I tell her. Amiko frantically examines me. I have a strange rash all over my back, the backs of my legs, the back of my head and neck—everywhere I was in contact with the bed. I can feel her cool hands moving over my inflamed skin. “It looks like an allergic rash,” she says. “Like hives.”

I use the bathroom and shuffle back to bed, wondering what I should do. Normally if I woke up feeling like this, I would go to the emergency room, but no one at the hospital will have seen symptoms of having been in space for a year. I crawl back into bed, trying to find a way to lie down without touching my rash. I can hear Amiko rummaging in the medicine cabinet. She comes back with two ibuprofen and a glass of water. As she settles down, I can tell from her every movement, every breath, that she is worried about me. We both knew the risks of the mission I signed on for. After six years together, I can understand her perfectly even in the wordless dark.

As I try to will myself to sleep, I wonder whether my friend Mikhail Kornienko is also suffering from swollen legs and painful rashes— Misha is home in Moscow after spending nearly a year in space with me. I suspect so. This is why we volunteered for this mission, after all: to discover how the human body is affected by long-term space flight. Scientists will study the data on Misha and me for the rest of our lives and beyond. Our space agencies won’t be able to push out farther into space, to a destination like Mars, until we can learn more about how to strengthen the weakest links in the chain that makes space flight possible: the human body and mind. People often ask me why I volunteered for this mission, knowing the risks—the risk of launch, the risk inherent in spacewalks, the risk of returning to Earth, the risk I would be exposed to every moment I lived in a metal container orbiting the Earth at 17,500 miles per hour. I have a few answers I give to this question, but none of them feels fully satisfying to me. None of them quite answers it.
 

When I was a boy, I had a strange recurring daydream. I saw myself confined to a small space, barely big enough to lie down in. Curled up on the floor, I knew that I would be there for a long time. I couldn’t leave, but I didn’t mind—I had the feeling I had everything I needed. Something about that small space, the sense that I was doing something challenging just by living there, was appealing to me. I felt I was where I belonged.

One night when I was five, my parents shook Mark and me awake and hustled us down to the living room to watch a blurry gray image on TV, which they explained was men walking on the moon. I remember hearing the staticky voice of Neil Armstrong and trying to make sense of the outrageous claim that he was visiting the glowing disc in the New Jersey summer sky I could see out our window. Watching the moon landing left me with a strange recurring nightmare: I dreamed I was preparing to launch on a rocket to the moon, but rather than being secured safely in a seat inside, I was instead strapped across the pointy end of the rocket, my back against its nose cone, facing straight up at the heavens. The moon loomed over me, its giant craters threatening, as I waited through the countdown. I knew I couldn’t possibly survive the moment of ignition. Every time I had this dream, I woke up, sweating and terrified, just before the engines burned their fire into the sky.

As a kid, I took all the risks I could, not because I was foolhardy but because everything else was boring. I threw myself off things, crawled under things, took dares from other boys, skated and slid and swam and capsized, sometimes tempting death. Mark and I climbed up drainpipes starting when we were six, waving back down at our parents from roofs two or three stories up. Attempting something difficult was the only way to live. If you were doing something safe, something you already knew could be done, you were wasting time. I found it bewildering that some people my age could just sit still, breathing and blinking, for entire school days—that they could resist the urge to run outside, to take off exploring, to do something new, to take risks. What went through their heads? What could they learn in a classroom that could even approach the feeling of flying down a hill out of control on a bike?

I was a terrible student, always staring out windows or looking at the clock, waiting for class to be over. My teachers scolded, then chastised, then finally—some of them—ignored me. My parents, a cop and a secretary, tried unsuccessfully to discipline my brother and me. Neither of us listened. We were on our own much of the time—after school, while our parents were still at work, and on weekend mornings, when our parents were sleeping off a hangover. We were free to do what we liked, and what we liked was to take risks.

During my high school years, for the first time I found something I was good at that adults approved of: I worked as an emergency medical technician. When I took the EMT classes, I discovered that I had the patience to sit down and study. I started as a volunteer and in a few years worked my way up to a full-time job. I rode in an ambulance all night, never knowing what I would face next—gunshot wounds, heart attacks, broken bones. Once I delivered a baby in a public housing project, the mother in a rancid bed with old unwashed sheets, a single naked lightbulb swinging overhead, dirty dishes piled in the sink. The heart-pounding feeling of walking into a potentially dangerous situation and having to depend on my wits was intoxicating. I was dealing with life-and-death situations, not boring—and, to me, pointless— classroom subjects. In the morning, I often drove home and went to sleep instead of going to school.

I managed to graduate from high school, in the bottom half of my class. I went to the only college I was accepted to (which was a different college than the one I had meant to apply to—such were my powers of concentration). There, I had no more interest in schoolwork than I’d had in high school, and I was also getting too old to jump off things for fun. Partying took the place of physical risk, but it wasn’t as satisfying. When asked by adults, I said I wanted to be a doctor. I’d signed up for premed classes but was failing them in my first semester. I knew I was just marking time until I’d be told I would have to do something else, and I had no idea what that would be.

One day I walked into the campus bookstore to buy snacks, and a display caught my eye. The letters on the book’s cover seemed to streak into the future with unstoppable speed: The Right Stuff. I wasn’t much of a reader—whenever I was assigned to read a book for school, I would barely flip through it, hopelessly bored. Sometimes I’d look at the CliffsNotes and remember enough of what I read to pass a test on the book, sometimes not. I had not read many books by choice in my entire life—but this book somehow drew me to it.

I picked up a copy, and its first sentences dropped me into the stench of a smoky field at the naval air station in Jacksonville, Florida, where a young test pilot had just been killed and burned beyond recognition. He had crashed his airplane into a tree, which “knocked [his] head to pieces like a melon.” The scene captured my attention like nothing else I had ever read. Something about this was deeply familiar, though I couldn’t say what.

I bought the book and lay on my unmade dorm room bed reading it for the rest of the day, heart pounding, Tom Wolfe’s hyperactive, looping sentences ringing in my head. I was captivated by the description of the Navy test pilots, young hotshots catapulting off aircraft carriers, testing unstable airplanes, drinking hard, and generally moving through the world like exceptional badasses.

The idea here (in the all-enclosing fraternity) seemed to be that a man should have the ability to go up in a hurtling piece of machinery and put his hide on the line and then have the moxie, the reflexes, the experience, the coolness, to pull it back in the last yawning moment—and then to go up again the next day, and the next day, and every next day, even if the series should prove infinite—and, ultimately, in its best expression, do so in a cause that means something to thousands, to a people, a nation, to humanity, to God.

This wasn’t just an exciting adventure story. This was something more like a life plan. These young men, flying jets in the Navy, did a real job that existed in the real world. Some of them became astronauts, and that was a real job too. These were hard jobs to get, I understood, but some people did get them. It could be done. What drew me to these Navy pilots wasn’t the idea of the “right stuff”—a special quality these few brave men had—it was the idea of doing something immensely difficult, risking your life for it, and surviving. It was like a night run in the ambulance, but at the speed of sound. The adults around me who encouraged me to become a doctor thought I liked being an EMT because I liked taking people’s blood pressure measurements, stabilizing broken bones, and helping people. But what I craved about the ambulance was the excitement, the difficulty, the unknown, the risk. Here, in a book, I found something I’d thought I would never find: an ambition. I closed the book late that night a different person.

I would be asked many times over the following decades what the beginning of my career as an astronaut was, and I would talk about seeing the moon landing as a kid, or seeing the first shuttle launch. These answers were to some extent true. I never told the story about an eighteen-year-old boy in a tiny, stuffy dorm room, enthralled by swirling sentences describing long-dead pilots. That was the real beginning.
 

When I became an astronaut and started getting to know my astronaut classmates, many of us shared the same memory of coming downstairs in our pajamas as little kids to watch the moon landing. Most of them had decided, then and there, to go to space one day. At the time, we were promised that Americans would land on the surface of Mars by 1975, when I was eleven. Everything was possible now that we had put a man on the moon. Then NASA lost most of its funding, and our dreams of space were downgraded over the decades. Yet my astronaut class was told we would be the first to go to Mars, and we believed it so fully that we put it on the class patch we wore on our flight jackets, a little red planet rising above the moon and the Earth. Since then, NASA has accomplished the assembly of the International Space Station, the hardest thing human beings have ever achieved. Getting to Mars and back will be even harder, and I have spent a year in space— longer than it would take to get to Mars—to help answer some of the questions about how we can survive that journey.

The risk taking of my youth is still with me. My childhood memories are of the uncontrollable forces of physics, the dream of climbing higher, the danger of gravity. For an astronaut, those memories are unsettling in one way but comforting in another. Every time I took a risk, I lived to draw breath again. Every time I got myself into trouble, I made it out alive.

Most of the way through my yearlong mission, I was thinking about how much The Right Stuff had meant to me, and I decided to call Tom Wolfe; I thought he might enjoy getting a call from space. Among the other things we talked about, I asked him how he writes his books, how I might start to think about putting my experiences into words.

“Begin at the beginning,” he said, and so I will.

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Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Scott Kelly's novel Endurance is a great read for anyone who is a space enthusiast or who simply enjoys a story of a man who came from meager beginnings to go on to accomplish something few people in this world has ever done. Kelly starts us from his early years as a school kid in New Jersey who had little interest in school and came from a dysfunctional family. He builds on this on how he became inspired to succeed and the long path it took him to enter the Navy and eventually flight school and then on to become a test pilot who was chosen to fly in space. Kelly loves his time in orbit but doesn't hold back on what hardships are involved in getting there and being there. We learn about how NASA's idea of what needs to be done while in orbit doesn't always mesh with what those who are actually there feels needs to be done. His year-long trip actually came after initially being turned down for the trip. He went back to NASA to plead his case on how he would actually be a great test subject because of his twin brother that he actually gets his ticket to one last long mission in space. Kelly has a lot of struggles during his mission but also make some great friends that will last a lifetime. This book was an easy read and very enjoyable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written inspiring ... Hope for further space exploration.
18715140 More than 1 year ago
Scott Kelly's autobiography is a journey from a slacker in youth, to a man willing to sacrifice himself for the furtherance of mankind. I truly enjoyed Scott's wit and humor through out the journey he has provided the reader. Scott was a total under achiever in youth, but seeing his Mom's training and become a police officer in an era when women were not on the force and reading the novel All the Right Stuff, propelled Scott on a journey that lead him to where he is today. The longest space mission for an American lasting almost a year. What Scott sacrifice will help Man reach Mars. Scott's determination kept him on a path, that many thought he would never achieve. His twin brother also became an astronaut, from the same dysfunctional beginnings. That to me makes a truly remarkable family that shows you can over come obstacles. One thing that I truly enjoyed reading about, was all the different aircraft that Scott learned to fly, ending with the Space Shuttle. While these pilots make things look easy, the behind the scene narrative that Scott provided, truly shows how difficult flight can be. While one may think floating in the ISS would be a fun day, there are a lot of sacrifices and demands of the body and mind that Scott eloquently described in his writing.
conni7 More than 1 year ago
I am amazed at how interesting this book is. I expected to read a lot of factual information about Scott Kelly’s time at the International Space Station, this book was all that and so much more. The author shares detail about his formative years, growing up with a father who was an alcoholic. He goes on to say how he didn’t do well in school, barely passing through each grade and not doing any better in high school. He had trouble sitting still for anything and thinks if he grew up today, he would be diagnosed with ADHD. It all changed when he came across a copy of The Right Stuff. The book suddenly made everything clear to him. Becoming an a navy pilot and hopefully eventually an astronaut was now his goal. He then writes about the struggle and hard work that went into improving his grades in college, so he could finally be accepted at a military academy. He intersperses his past with his career as an astronaut and how he ended up going to the International Space Station. Through words and photos he shows us what it’s like to get there and live there for a year. He covers some of the difficult things such as how careful they have to be with everything because things float away. There are difficulties eating, working on equipment and even going to the bathroom. I highly recommend this fascinating book. I would love to see this reduced in size for elementary school kids to show them that they too can reach their dreams by working for them. This book is so inspirational that I think he could change a few lives by reaching children at young ages.
KristyJewel More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading Endurance by Scott Kelly and I have to say I really enjoyed the book. I ended up buying the audiobook after I received the physical book simply because I saw that the book was read by Scott Kelly. I always love listening to the person read their own life story. I have to say that I was really impressed with this book. Scott Kelly really adds the human element to Space Exploration. It was motivating in a "I will never be that motivated" kind of way. Growing up, I never even thought of being an astronaut so reading about his experiences was truly one of a kind. One thing when reading this book that I noticed is that Scott Kelly is a facts only kind of guy. He seems to almost lack emotions at certain pivotal parts in the book. He really just states the facts and moves on. That was something that I really had to accept because most of the biographies that I read have some sort of emotion placed in them. Even though the emotions was missing, I have to say I still really enjoyed learning about his journey and I'm sure it was better to not get lost in the details. All in all, this book was fascinating. If anyone is wanting to learn more about the daily struggle that astronauts go through, this is a great book to read. I truly hope that this book speaks to many people and helps them realize their full potential. Scott Kelly just proved that picking up a book can truly change your life.
BrainyHeroine More than 1 year ago
Endurance is not a memoir to be read lightly, though gravity and brevity both take the forefront. Scott's experiences both getting to the ISS and while on it, are a remarkable, pragmatic, and thrilling experiment in the capacity of science and humanity. There is no fluff in his telling, no exaggeration of events, you almost feel like you're having a conversation with him, or rather that he's giving a lecture. The photos and sketches in the book are a great point of reference in a few places; all while giving a truly fantastical experience a homey feel. Scott Kelly did a really and utterly fantastic job, both on his various missions and in the writing of this book. It's hard to explain why I've found it to be so amazing, but it just is. The rollercoaster of emotions that you go through, exhilaration, fear, hope, sadness, all to get to an unknown ending that we get to witness in real life is magical. This is going to be a book that one day sparks some kids interest in a future space program.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A first hand and very personal account of living in space. I enjoyed the book very much.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I opened this book up with the thought that I would read a few chapters before bed here and there. To be honest, I didn't think I would like it. After the first few sections I was hooked. Finished it within a week and my plan to read a few chapters before bed turned into reading it until 3am. I love the rawness and honesty of the character. You get to know him. Not the person he wants you to think he is, but really the person he is. That isn't easy to do. To be so honest and bold about who you are knowing that everyone can read and judge from that. I really thought it would be another space book. I'm embarrassed for thinking that now. You get taken to another place but its how he tells it thats important. I literally felt everything that he felt. I saw what he saw and I was an emotional wreck for the whole ride. Definitely a must read for everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very disappointed this was not totally written by the person "enduring" the trip to space. A ghost writer obviously wrote this or wrote the majority of the Memoir. The "almost year in space" could have been more of a family style book not adult only thoughts. I wouldn't want my children to read this. Otherwise not too bad.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I cant tell you how much I enjoyed this book. I had a hard time putting it down each night and was sorry when it was over. It was so good I read every last page of the Acknowledgments. A must read.
CrimeDoc 7 days ago
I read the First Look of Scott Kelly's "Endurance." The book begins with Kelly having dinner with his family after returning from spending a year in space. In the introduction, he explains that he was not a great student but was a bit of an adrenaline junkie, taking physical risks as a child, working as an EMT while still in high school, and partying in college to replace his earlier physical risk-taking. Kelly’s writing is clear and accessible – he writes as if he is having a conversation with his reader. I was disappointed that the First Look only included the book’s prologue, because I was so quickly drawn into his story. I think anyone who enjoys memoirs, space, or science fiction would enjoy this book.
Anonymous 3 months ago
When I first heard about this book, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. A book about astronauts/space AND Scott Kelly?! Sign me up. I'm fascinated by the subject matter and was not disappointed one bit. I loved learned about Scott Kelly and his life and family, as well as NASA and his experience in space and as an astronaut. I really enjoyed the style of writing and the way the chapters jumped back and forth. I was fascinated by all the information about the space program, both for the United States and other countries. I loved getting to meet the other astronauts from other countries and finding out about them as well. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher (via BookishFirst) in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Loved it
Anonymous 4 months ago
Great read, Thank you Scott for giving us a glimpse of your life in space and on Earth.
atmikeysbookreviews 5 months ago
When Scott Kelly decided he was going to write a book he contacted Tom Wolfe, author of THE RIGHT STUFF, the book that inspired Kelly to become an astronaut. Kelly asked Wolfe how he should begin. “Begin at the beginning,” was Wolfe’s reply. And so Scott Kelly begins with his life growing up in New Jersey as the twin of his astronaut brother Mark. His parents, both liquor addicted police officers, were still inspirations to the burgeoning astronaut. Especially his mother, who was able to set goals and meet them, even at the hands of an abusive husband. Scott was an uninspired student through most of his high school years, and then he picked up a copy of Wolfe’s book, which is the story of the original Mercury astronauts. He was hooked. Kelly knew his grades would never get him into the Naval Academy at Annapolis, but they were good enough to get him into the Merchant Marine Academy, which was good enough to get him into the Navy. He became a pilot, and that led to becoming a test pilot, and that led to NASA. His first Space Shuttle mission was in December 1999, when he was pilot of Discovery STS-103, an eight day service mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. In 2012 Kelly was selected for a 340 day mission aboard the International Space Station, a mission that began in March 2015 and ended in March 2016. He retired in April of the same year. Kelly has written a very engaging book about his life and his life in space, and the havoc that space travel wreaks on a human body. Kelly writes how his first marriage ended in divorce, hinting that marital infidelity on his part might have been one of the causes of that failure. Kelly is at his best when he writes about his life on earth. From a failing, uninspired student to becoming a paramedic, to becoming a test pilot and then an astronaut, he has written an inspiring story. It’s not an ‘if I can do it, you can do it’ type of story. Rather, it’s a story of overcoming the obstacles in your path and achieving your goals. His writing of his life in space is also quite interesting. I think we all realize how dangerous space travel can be, but I never realized how much of a toll it takes on an astronaut’s body. It affects their vision. It affects their neuromuscular structure. Too much inhalation of elevated carbon dioxide can lead to the bends, the same condition that afflicts divers. We now know that, thanks to medical tests performed on Scott and his astronaut twin brother Mark, that it also affects their DNA, as Scott’s is now slightly different than Mark’s. The research into how his year in space affected his body will go on for years. Scott Kelly has written a very good memoir, with just enough tension to make readers feel like they’re riding a missile into space alongside him. It also reminds us that, with enough hard work, we can attain the goals we set for ourselves. To keep up with Scott Kelly’s story, follow him on Twitter at NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly
CaitlinAllen More than 1 year ago
Thanks to Knopf for the free review copy. All opinions are my own. I am not normally a non-fiction reader. I sometimes can find it hard to get into memoirs, but that was not the case with this book. Kelly makes this extremely scientific and analytical job relatable to the common person. I enjoyed reading about how he spent a year in space. I find space travel to be a fascinating topic and loved to hear about what it was actually like. Another aspect of the book that I really liked was how the chapters switched between leading up to the time in the ISS and the year spent there. I didn't know how someone became an astronaut logistically, and Kelly made the process of understanding easy. I also enjoyed the references to Top Gun when discussing the Navy. This made it so I could understand what he was talking about. I find this book to be fascinating. I really enjoyed learning about space travel, and in a way, 'taking' this journey with Kelly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I'd always been fascinated by the life of astronauts since I was a child, and had somewhat thought it a fun, carefree, career, but never had I given much thought into the grueling training and willpower that goes into it. Scott Kelly definitely shattered my naivete with his story, and I thought this book was a fantastically balanced read that shared great anecdotes of his professional career as well as his personal life, and I felt like I knew the author by end of his book. So yeah, what I found so great about it all is how there's a message of "endurance" that goes into making your career. There were many risks that Kelly put into making his dreams come true, but it's a ringing message that can be applied to all. Definitely one of the more enjoyable books I've had the pleasure of reading this year!
ReadingCornerforAll More than 1 year ago
I loved the welcoming tone of the book. It's like a fireside story where you hear tales about the triumph of spirit and the effects of voyaging across space. The nature of the book itself is absolutely incredible: a man who lived in space for over a year to see how humans are effected by long term space travel. Yet, it is Scott Kelly's very clear and descriptive voice that just draws you in and keeps the pages turning. There is a very humanizing element in how he relates his initial interest in space travel, his school years, and the aftereffects of his life in space on his family and himself. Truly believe this to be a crucial read for all to gain knowledge about space travel and the importance of continuing such voyages into the great unknown.
stickerooniDM More than 1 year ago
I am of the age that I can clearly remember watching the first landing on the moon and the first time mankind walked on the moon. And I remember the Apollo-Soyuz Project and seeing the artist's conception of the two spacecraft docking, miles above the Earth (and what a strange-looking bug that Soyuz craft was to me). And because of this, I've grown up with a fascination and interest in the U.S. space program (which may explain why two of my children are pursuing dreams of working professionally in the space program). Memoirs such as astronaut Scott Kelly's Endurance hold a special fascination for me. For those who don't already know, Scott Kelly has been to space a few times - as part of the space shuttle program and to the International Space Station (ISS). Most recently he was one of two astronauts (the other, Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Korniyenko) who spent nearly one entire year aboard the ISS - the longest anyone has been outside the constant pull of Earth's gravity to date. There are many reasons to subject a human to this, just one of those being that we want to study the effects of long-term weightlessness on the human being because if we ever want to put someone on Mars, or even further away than that, we're clearly looking at some long-term weightlessness for those adventurers. That Scott Kelly has a twin brother, who is also an astronaut employed by NASA, helps with the study as a control subject. What is particularly fascinating about this book is the first-hand account of the day-to-day work about the ISS. The reader gets the impression that Scott Kelly doesn't hold back on much and simply tells it the way he sees it - which isn't always flattering to NASA. But he also describes what might otherwise be considered a mundane work day (fixing toilets, dissecting mice, taking out the trash) except for the fact that it's done in space. The challenges he faces for some of the most routine tasks are often very interesting to read about. And of course there are the fun facts that we really could only get from an astronaut, such as the smell of the exterior metal of the ISS when the capsule first docks. And the smell of the interior of the ISS. And the appearance of the dinged and pitted exterior walls from the plethora of micrometeors that strike the station. The book is more than just a diary of Kelly's year in space. It is a memoir and we have alternating chapters so that we get a sense of who Scott Kelly is and how he came to be the astronaut who spent a year in space. From his early school days, his parents' relationship and goals, his attempts to get in to college once he knew what he wanted to do, and his drive to become an astronaut. Knowing these things about him helps us to understand why he would leave family on Earth for so long to put himself through what he did. What we don't get is the effects. Kelly teases us at the start of the book with his just having returned to Earth and eating dinner with his extended family and suddenly having some health issues - to the degree that his partner wants to get him to a doctor immediately (to which he points out that very few doctors in the world would understand the symptoms and conditions of a man who'd just spent nearly a year in weightlessness). But we never come back to this. We don't get the expected summary of what likely caused this health crises. We understand it's related to his living in space, but does it get better? What specifically caus
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book to explore space with. It is an insiders look into a career and (out of) world that people don't get too close with usually. The way Kelley writes the book invites people into his life - from early childhood until today, through the trials and tribulations of the life of an astronaut. He simplifies the science enough that everyone can understand it, but can also see how challenging even 5 minutes on the ISS must be. He expertly weaves in stories of his childhood, his personal life, and his time at NASA. It is a page turner in the greatest sense, and despite knowing the end of the story, knowing how things work out, you are left on the edge of your seat. The beautiful color photos in the book also provide a personal look at space travel and the absolute beauty of this world. A highly recommended book for space lovers and non-space lovers alike.
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
I liked this book a lot! It was very interesting and held my interest throughout. Scott Kelly is a very funny guy and I liked how put that into the book. I learned a lot about the space industry. Most of it, I didn’t know. I certainly didn’t realize that there are still astronauts and that we are using Russia’s facilities. I now a little secret about dill, as well. Ha!! I think it’s great that we are cooperating with Russia in order to learn more about space and the secrets it holds. So many different things that I learned about were very extraordinary. A really good book that I enjoyed very much. Thanks to Bookish for providing me with a free copy of the book (a hard copy) in order for me to review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very warm and candid view a nearly unfathomable feat! Thank you, Scott and Mark for your service!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of this book from Penguin Random House for an honest review. Scott Kelly's Endurance is a study in human achievement and the ISS is really the star of the show. Don't get me wrong--Scott Kelly is an interesting, personable, funny narrator, and his memoir is cohesive and strong. But the international space station, the way it functions and its purpose, is the most fascinating part of the novel. Endurance takes us in alternating chapters between episodes on the ISS and Kelly's life on earth: growing up with his twin brother, stressing in school over mediocre grades, the typical "I wasn't great in school, but now I'm an astronaut" thing. In spite of the fact that this book is about Kelly and his life, I found myself scanning through these chapters and moving onto the space station fodder. I loved learning about how the station works--how Kelly and cohorts eat in space, commit routine tasks, sleep on rotation, the politics of how human bodies endure. The progression of what man can achieve in space is so important to catalogue, and Kelly's memoir will go far in helping us understand the physical and mental toll a year in space can take.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great and informTional book. A must read for all ages.
BookFreakOut More than 1 year ago
This stunning memoir is a must-read, and that's coming from someone who rarely reads nonfiction! Endurance is split between chapters detailing his year on the International Space Station and a broader view of his life journey up to the launch of that mission. I appreciated the focus on his "year in space" mission; having that take up half the book allowed him to share both the broad mission goals and their impact for the future of space exploration as well as the more lighthearted aspects of his time in space - pranks on crewmates, stories of family dinners with the cosmonauts, and the arrival of a gorilla suit in space. His early life history is equally fascinating and inspiring; the story of how he was a low-performing student even through his first year of college proves that it's never too late to chase a dream, even one as ambitious as going into space. There's enough technical detail in Endurance to satisfy space and tech nerds, but it's described in lay terms that will make this a winner for anyone. Full of heart and humor, Endurance will make you want to reach for the stars!